Lampedusa Tragedy Survivors raise Questions that needs Serious Investigation

Survivors say more lives could have been saved if ...???
Survivors say more lives could have been saved if …???

By Concerned Eritreans from Lampedusa,

While the important task of identifying the bodies and repatriating the remains to their homeland for a final resting place is at the forefront of all the efforts exerted by the families of the victims of the Lampedusa boat tragedy, important questions are being raised by the survivors that will need further and thorough investigation. 

The causes that made the boat to sink, the lack and delay of efforts by the Italians to rescue the migrants that border on sheer negligence, and other serious allegations by the survivors, compel us to call for an immediate investigation to get to the bottom of the causes that led to the horrific loss of hundreds of lives. Here is a brief account of the survivors on what transpired on 3 October 2013.

1./ The boat carrying some 521 migrants had arrived near the coast of Lampedusa Island on 3rd October at around 2 AM in the morning. The weather was smooth throughout the journey and they did not encounter any high waves until they switched off the engine some distance from the Island. Maximum 5 Kms (but many say around 1Km). There are two questions that can be raised from this important sequence of events:

a) The Italian Coast Guard has the capacity to intercept incoming boats from as far away as 50 km from the coast, get a concise coordinates of the boat and its bearing, and the Italian Coast Guard, on many occasions, had sailed tens of kilometers to intercept migrant boats. So, why couldn’t the Italian Coast Guard detect a boat that had sailed and was standing still for at least half an hour within a stone throw from its shores?

b) A lot of the survivors are claiming seeing two small speed boats flashing red emergency lights come within 50 meters of their boat, circled around it twice, and left without providing any assistance. Why? Where did these speed boats come from? Who dispatched them? Are there any recordings of the communication between these speed boats and the Italian Coast Guard? Were these boats not detectable on the Italian Coast Guard’s radar systems? These critical unanswered questions necessitate further investigating by all concerned authorities.

2./ The captain and co-captain of the boat, who are said to be Tunisians, flashed their flashlight for an indefinite period of time until the battery died. Between 2:30 AM and 3:00 AM on the 3rd of October, the captain realized that there was a leak and the boat was take in water. Without consulting all the migrants who were helping him fix the motor of the boat, he held a blanket in his hand, dowsed it with benzine and lit it such that a fireball was created. Almost immediately, he dropped the fireball from his hand as the fire threatened to overwhelm him.

The migrants who were sitting close to where he dropped the thrown fireball panicked and ran towards the other side of the extremely overcrowded boat. This immediately caused the boat to tip first towards its side for few minutes and then it completely capsized. Some of the migrants reported that this process took less than a minute. Mayhem ensued as most of the migrants did not have any knowledge of the sea and could not swim. They were all cast into the deep sea, which is approximately 50 meters in depth.

3./ The boat remained upside down for about 30-60 minutes. Assuming that the highest point of the boat had touched the seafloor, the migrants who were initially thrown into the sea made their way back to the ship and started climbing onto the capsized vessel. Soon after, the boat sank completely leaving those on top of it to their own devices. It was reported that the majority did not know how to swim, and those who did were grabbed by those who could not swim. In the ensuing cries for help, it was impossible to save all those who were not able to swim or those who could not set themselves free.

4./ Those who managed to swim away from the horrific scene started to swim to the shore but the waves were moving against them and thus depleted their energy. The first survivors to reach land said it took them about 4 to 4.5 hours. They were first noticed by private in the fisher area, who witnessed the horrific scenes of bodies washing up onto the island’s shore. The fishers threw safety floating devices to the survivors and sought help from the Coast Guard.

5./ The private fisher (with his companions) who raised the alarm around 7:30 AM in the morning said the Coast Guard took 50 minutes to arrive at the scene. If the coast guard were following their standard operating protocols, it should not have taken them more than approximately 12 minutes to reach the scene. What was the cause of the delay? Additionally, how many more lives could have been saved had there not been a delay and departure from standard protocol by the Italian Coast Guard.

These and many other questions into the conduct of the Italian authorities calls for in depth investigation and follow up. Note: Times given by the survivors is approximate, since no one looked what time it was during those chaotic hours where they were fighting for their lives.  
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50 thoughts on “Lampedusa Tragedy Survivors raise Questions that needs Serious Investigation

  1. Sink immigrants’ boats – Griffin

    The EU should sink boats carrying illegal immigrants to prevent them entering Europe, British National Party leader Nick Griffin has told the BBC.

    The MEP for the North-West of England said the EU had to get “very tough” with migrants from sub-Saharan Africa.

    Pressed on what should happen to those on board, he said: “Throw them a life raft and they can go back to Libya”.

    Libya has long been a staging post for migrants from Egypt and sub-Saharan Africa wanting to reach Europe.

    Nearly 37,000 immigrants landed on Italian shores last year, an increase of about 75% on the year before. But with the prospect of a new immigration and asylum policy being voted on this autumn by MEPs, Mr Griffin is advocating measures to destroy boats used by illegal immigrants to reach the EU’s southern coastline.

    ‘Combating the flow’

    In an interview with this week’s edition of BBC Parliament’s The Record Europe, he said: “If there’s measures to set up some kind of force or to help, say the Italians, set up a force which actually blocks the Mediterranean then we’d support that.

    “But the only measure, sooner or later, which is going to stop immigration and stop large numbers of sub-Saharan Africans dying on the way to get over here is to get very tough with those coming over.

    “Frankly, they need to sink several of those boats.

    “Anyone coming up with measures like that we’ll support but anything which is there as a ‘oh, we need to do something about it’ but in the end doing something about it means bringing them into Europe’ we will oppose.”

    The interviewer, BBC Correspondent Shirin Wheeler, said: “I don’t think the EU is in the business of murdering people at sea.”

    Mr Griffin replied: “I didn’t say anyone should be murdered at sea – I say boats should be sunk, they can throw them a life raft and they can go back to Libya.
    “But Europe has sooner or later to close its borders or its simply going to be swamped by the Third World.”

    In May, the Italian government gave Libya three patrol boats as part of a deal aimed at combating the flow of illegal migrants making the crossing to Italy.

    Italian Interior Minister Roberto Maroni, a member of the anti-immigration Lega Nord party, hailed the first 200 migrants picked up by the boats and returned to Libya as an “historic” moment.

    But human rights groups have raised concerns about Italy sending migrants back to Libya without first screening them for asylum claims or to discover whether they are sick, injured, unaccompanied children or victims of human trafficking.

    Libya has no functioning asylum system and is not a party to the 1951 UN convention relating to the status of refugees.


    Separately Mr Griffin, who will next week formally take up his seat in Brussels, has admitted that the BNP has failed to convince other like-minded parties to form an alliance in the new European Parliament.

    Talks with France’s Front National, Lega Nord, and other groups fell apart, with Lega Nord now joining the new Europe of Freedom and Democracy group, led by Britain’s UK Independence Party.

    Mr Griffin told The “We needed at least 25 members from seven different member states to form a group. There is no doubt that we would have been able to wield a lot more influence if we could have formed a group.

    “No one was prepared to commit themselves knowing that we had not got Lega Nord on board.

    “Even so, we will continue to work together with these other groups and share ideas. We will have less access to things like speaking time and committee votes but it’s too bad.”

    The BNP advocates British withdrawal from the European Union and an end to all immigration to the UK and last month won its first two seats in the European Parliament.

    Mr Griffin and the party’s other recently-elected MEP Andrew Brons will sit in the “non-attached” section of the Parliament, which means they will be entitled to less administrative and financial support.

    1. ካብ ሓደጋ ማእኸላይ ባሕሪ ዝደሓኑ ነቲ ሓደጋ ዝተዋህበ ምላሽ ክምርመረሎም ይሓቱ`ለዉ

      VOA Tigrinya,

      ካብታ ኣብ ማእኸላይ ባሕሪ ዝጠሓለት ጀልባ ዘይሕጋውያን ኣስገርቲ ዝደሓኑ ሰባት ነቲ ሓደጋ ዝተዋህበ ምላሽ ሓለውቲ ወሰናስን ባሕሪ ጣልያን ብዝምልከት ፅዑቅ ምርመራ ክግበር ይሓቱ’ለው።

      ሎሚ ሬድዮ ድምፂ ኣሜሪካ ዘዘራረቦ ሓደ ካብቶም ካብቲ ሓደጋ ዝዸሓኑ ሙሴ ዮሃንስ፣ ሓለውቲ ወሰናስን ባሕሪ ጣልያን ነቲ ሓደጋ ደንጉዩም’ዩም ምላሽ ሂቦምሉ ክብል ገሊፁ።

      ኣስዒቡ ክልተ ጀላቡ’ውን ክልተ ጊዜ ዘይረናና ሓሊፈን እቶም ሓለውቲ ባሕሪ’ውን 50- ደቃይቅ ደንጉዮም መፂኦም፣ ስለዚ ይመርመረልና ይብሉ’ለዉ።

      እዚ’ውን ነቶም ናብታ ደሴት ላፐዱዛ ብምኻድ ምስቶም ካብቲ ሓደጋ ዝደሓኑ ዝተራኸቡ ቀዳማይ ሚኒስተር ጣልያን ከምዝነገርዎምን እቶም ቀዳማይ ሚኒስተር ጣልያን’ውን እቲ ጉዳይ ከም ዝምርመር ከም ዝገለፁሎም ሓደ ካብቶም ዝደሓኑ ዝኾነ ሙሴ ዩሃንስ ገሊጹ።

      እዚ ከምዚሉ ከሎ ካብ ዝተፈላለያ ሃገራት ዝመፁ ኤርትራውያን መንእሰያት ናብታ ደሴት ብምኻድ ነቶም ዝደሓኑን ንሬሳታት’ቶም ግዳያትን ንምንዳይን ንምልላይን ናብ ላምፐዱዛ ንዝተጋዕዙን ይሕግዙ ከም ዘለው ሓደ ካባአቶም ዝኾነ ሲራክ ባህልቢ ገሊፁ’ሎ።

      Click the player below to listen the interview:

  2. @ Tedros , if you are looking for a childish name calling website/social site why don't you move on ? this is a highly respected and informative site where real Eritreans come to hear /discuss something of consequence.I will not lower myself to your level to talk in your kinda language but i will tell you this . The article is a well written inquisitive news which happens to speak what most of us had in our minds. There is something wrong with the whole picture of what happened to those who perished. And as Eritreans the gov and the people have to find out what exactly happened.
    If i had to comment on this already tired talk of "real cause" of this phenomena we are witnessing ,I think its pretty obvious what and who and why. and from this side of the world its your type of people who are aiding with or without knowing. Let me ask you this when was the last time , in the past 12 years , you went to a march or wrote a letter to your local representative or did anything to do your part to fight the illegal occupation of our land , the illegal sanctions etc ? At least most of those who have sadly died have done their part & maybe things long or hard and decided to leave , But whats yours and your kinds excuse ? At least Sirak is representing and doing his part in his capacity without dividing Eritreans in his clear and non aligned article , while @Tesfanews is putting it out there to share this with our beloved people. So I believe its you who is sitting in his ass wherever you are dividing Pro/Against the one people of Eritrea.
    Abezi hazen ketedameku, nab kale ketewaweu kab mewal , do your part to your country and then if you have other issues deal with the gov in the appropriate manner through proper channels. Good day.

      1. It is a brilliant concern, and if it is the concern and demand of the survivors from the trajedy,
        it makes it more serious and legal. We all need to voice it loud together with them to show our solidarity and emphaty, it is urgent and crucial.
        Most of all, as we all know it and may agree, this is not the first and the last incident. Hence the root cause have to be explored and be exposed to Eritreans, and the whole world.
        Thorough investigation, to find the rats from their holes, or monsters from their villas, in and out, until it is fully cured and the criminals are subjected to face appropriate ruling is a burning billions of dollars question which request answers from all the concerned authorities in Eritrea and the world community.

    1. Teddy, You are right. There is no need for that kind of name calling. We should be able to address our differences in a civilized manner. The fact remains though, there is no consensus on the root cause of that tragedy and what exactly happened in Lampesuda that morning can not be the the real cause. The main reason we need to get to the bottom of this tragedy is so that we can avoid similar future occurences.
      This article, eventhough admirable for its effort in exploring the cause, does not address why these innocent Eritreans take such a drastic measure. I guarantee you that there are other Eritreans in Libya, who are aware of this situation, and will try such a desperate attempt again.
      Now, interms of blaming the Italian Coast Guard, even if it is true that they purposely did nothing to save the Africans, it will be impossible to force the Italians to change their behaviour. It is not hard to see why the Italians are frustrated due to overwhelming number of african migrants crossing their border illegally every day. Imagine how we would treat this situation if Eritrea was a prosporous country and thousands of Ethiopians and Somalians migrate to Eritrea every year.

    2. The other suggested concern is the so called "human traffickers". Remember if the boat had made it to shore with no fatality, we would not be having these discussion now. The African migrants believe that the human traffickers are part of their solution to cross the sea. Should we condemn the traffickers for overloading the boat, for treating immigrants badly, for extorting family members for additional funds, or should we condemn them for totally involving in the business of traficking? and how can anyone stop those traffickers in a corrupted African countries they come from. I think it is easier to focus on how to stop the migrants from getting involved in this kind of risky behaviour. How? it goes back to the root cause of lack of opportunities in the African migrants home countries.

      1. I totally agree with you Wake Up. Blaming the fishermen for trying a to make a living by transporting people who desperately want to reach their destination. It is just like accusing the taxi driver if an accident happened on the road. Unfortunately the sea voyage is much dangerous journey because of bad weather condition, and most of the passengers do not realize the dangers.

        I also agree with you, It is better we focus on the root causes of the migration problems. In the case of Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia, it is the harsh economic conditions created by the poor political climate in the region. The poor political climate is due to inability of their leaders to reach a compromised solutions that lead to peace. Every one being rigid and not flexible to see the interest of the other side. Somehow we tend to view compromise as a weakness rather than the road to a win-win solutions. The political climate is also exasperated by outside interference by groups who may be benefiting from the crisis for its strategic location and exploitation of its natural and human resources. Yes we need to Wake Up!

    3. Teddy Sheda,

      I like the fact that you didn't lower yourself to the level of whatever the previous guy had gone down to. Kudos to you. However, there seems to be a double standard on treating people on this website. If, as you said, this website is highly respected and informative where real Eritreans discuss their concern then hear me out.

      I have read a lot of comments where people are labeled "zeyHagerawiyan" "Weyane" and all sorts of names for merely having an opinion that disagrees with the GoE's views. Just recently, I asked a very simple question on one of the posts, in a respectful manner. And the reply was I got was, I was a moron and Donqoro Ahya. Well, I overlooked those childish name-calling and challenged the responder with some facts. Guess what? my post was deleted! I hope this post will still be there for you to read.

      You have raised good questions. And those are worth discussing. But on the flip side, why is it that we become emotionally charged and resort to name calling when people have different opinion to ours. All of us are Ertireans and we might be seeing the problem from different angles. So to get back to the topic, Sirak has also raised good questions. They need to be answered. Why did those things happen? However, in the overall scheme of things, those are events that happened in the last minute. We would not be talking about this had those brothers and sisters landed safely. But we would still be wondering, why did these people leave their land to begin with? Why did they take so much risk to be here? Please read the next post. I was not able to finish in one post….

  3. …continued from above…

    One of the arguments I have been hearing is that those who don't approve of the GoE are to blame because they facilitate this escape by paying money (apart from the accusations of CIA). Well, unless we are burying our head in sand, are you going to tell me that those Eritreans who fully support and approve the GoE don't pay to have their brothers and sisters escape from Eritrea??? I know for fact MOST Eritreans, regardless of his stance (pro or against) the GoE, have helped family members escape from their home country. If you don't believe me ask the author Sirak Bahlbi. Sirak what do you say?
    To make short story short, we Eritreans need to create a wider platform of discussion. We need to be a little be civilized. We need to develop tolerance for ideas and opinions that don't necessarily agree with ours. At the end of the day, we all are not going to live in this world forever and at least we should act like that.

    1. @ Mihret Yewrid

      No one will eat your comment if they are worded in a cultured manner especially when addressing the people and government f Eritrea ….. irrespective of the grammar or spelling.

      You can address one another (… or when addressing Ethiopia/ns) with whatever language and insults you can throw at but, again, not on the people and government of Eritrea.

      Making long story short, you can attack the government with your opinion but ….. come on, can't you do it with out borrowing some derogatory words and languages from some of our anti-websites??

      Make no mistake TesfaNews is a pro-Eritrea website but it doesn't mean that it can not tolerate opposing opinions. NO! In fact, it encourages the free flow of opinions from both camps in the hope that it help nurturing political tolerance among us.

      So as long as you put your points cleverly, your comments will remain on this website as long as it is up and running.

      1. That is fair! Point well taken.

        Just to be clear though, I never used derogatory language. I simply copy pasted a content from Wikileaks to make my point – as the guy who was calling me names had referred Wikileaks as his source to prove that the US govt was responsible for human trafficking. Anyway, I understand why it was removed. I commend you for doing your job diligently.

      2. I do belive the tragic accident has been a wake up call for many of us. Instead if namecalling and insulting each other, compromise and respctful discussion to find a solution is the way forward. And just ignoring and not to responde to those who still choose insulting and provocation is the best response.

    2. @Mehirt yewere @wake up
      1. I believe both of you have misunderstood the article. Its about what exactly happened onboard the boat and why was their call for help ignored for many hrs . Its not about why our men/women got there in the first place.
      2 Also, I do believe I have explained my self quite clearly. Again I am not talking about helping by sending money, sponsoring etc. I am referring to By Not helping in the larger context with the situation our nation is in , stalemated border demarcation & illigal economic sanctions,even though it might seem insignificant it is directly Helping with creating the atmosphere and encouraging our youth to flee. If you want to end this let's end this by doing our parr from wherever we are by fighting those two real root causes. I will repeat as by doing nothing on those issues its the same as doing the opposite.

      1. Teddy Sheda,

        1. We perfectly understand what the article is talking about. Let me give you a short answer. The Italians (not all) don't have any interest in saving Eritrean or other African immigrants. They have their own problem of immigration. They have their own economic problems. They could care less about what happens to African immigrants trying to cross their border illegally. Yes, we could accuse them of being inhuman, but they have bigger fish to fry. It has nothing to do with the immigrants being from Eritrea (I don't even think they would have known that before the accident).

        2. I agree that Ethiopia's refusal for demarcation is ILLEGAL. However, what can we really do???We have called on the UN to abide by the final decision. We have signed petitions. Tell me of one practical way of helping this cause. In my opinion, the MAIN failures is our governments lack of diplomacy. How can we expect the world to listen to us when our government refuses to listen to the world and its own people? We cannot control what Ethiopia does to us, but we are in control of our own actions and responsibilities.

        As you pointed out if the situation at home is to be improved the border issue and sanctions have to be addresses among other things. At the moment we don't really have control on those. But we do have control over other issues and we can challenge the government on those topics. Why are people leaving the country? To give you a hint, people from all wakes of life are abandoning the country. It is not only disgruntled national service conscripts seeking better life in the west. High profile PFDJ officials, university professors, doctors, bet timhriti Sewra students, teachers, business people, priests, sheiks, young men and women, and even the ELDERLY!!! Unless we address fundamental issues of BASIC human rights, then everything we do is just kicking the can down the road. Lets own up for our part of the problem before we start accusing other entities.

  4. Does any one know if the captain has survived? A captain burning a blanket!Unbelivable unless otherwise he was commisioned to do the disastor! Immediate Investigation is needed to find out why this accident was staged!

  5. He has been arrested.
    My feeling is that he knows how to swim. I am sure he will be charged with murder but unfortunately that would not scare others from doing the same thing again. Remember this is not the first incident of its kind. To believe that this disaster was intentionally orchestrated by an individual or a group is simply deviating from the real issue.

    1. Spot on!

      We have already heard of boats with immigrants arriving at the shores of Italy not even a week after this tragedy. People will still take their chances as long as the situation from which they are running away does not improve. Therefore, if we really care about our people and want a lasting solution, we should address the root cause.

      1. Mihret Yewrid
        Yes it was boats with immigrants fr Palestinian,Syrian, Somali, Eritreans & z root cause is z same like Iraq & Afghanistan. this may help u to dust off z dollars from your eyes & ears.

    2. this man has done the same in April 2013, he created the same scenario and resulted in many deaths. The local police caught him in that case as well, but no one was there to witness the case in court, and he was released in circumstances unknown and unclear. If this man has the capabilities to do something like this twice in 6 months period has to have something big backing him up, the case must be investigated.

  6. Yes this should be investigated and those responsible should be held accountable for their crimes. But at this point our main priority should be how to stop this from happening again?. If one take a family with 10 kids as an example and 4 of 10 the children chose to abandon the family for some reasons and takes shelter in the neighbours houses (some of the neighbours are hostile to the family). And unfortuante for the kids the neighbour misstreat them and in their path to better future somewhere else they again got abused by many people whom are unknow to them. In this case who should be the primary responsible to take action to save the rest of the kids (6 of them) from facing the same fate?. Ofcourse we can blame the neighbour and all those who abused the kids but they won´t care becasue their intresst is something else, i.e. to weaken the family (the neighbour/Ethiopia) and make money (human trafficers). Only the kids family can take the necessary steps to prevent these form happning again, and one way is to have dialogue with the kids to understand why they are leaving plus involve well intentioned releatives to get new ideas and solve the family issues without compromissing the families well being.

  7. The Italian coastguards have rescued 28 thousands people in the first 9 months of 2013, of which 8000 in September alone. Of those 8000, 1400 were children or underage boys or girls._In a single 24 hour span in September (between the 25 and the 26 September) they rescued 1800 persons. In the very same night of the Lampedusa tragedy, the coastguards rescued a boat carrying 130 Sirians. The Sirians managed to make a phone call, the coastguards sent their only plane looking for the boat, and after finding that 30 miles south of Sicily, they also sent 2 ships were sent to rescue them._This is a normal day on the job for the coastguards, every day that God send to this earth since the last 20 years. They have rescued countless lives, but I am afraid they cannot possibly rescue every single ship and each and every life put at risk on those travels, and I cannot see how we could ask them to.

  8. I may be a cold person, but I find it very difficult to have sympathy for someone who crosses the sea on a rickety boat and deals with human traffickers. I understand if they were leaving a country with genocide and other mass killings, but Eritrea? What kind of an idiot does that?

    Also Africans know, in general, what Europeans think of them – how they treat them, no justice exists for coloured people in Europe … – especially Africans who had to deal with colonialism. I guess I have no tolerance for stupidity.

    1. NTH,

      Dont be afraid to call it as it is NTH. I am with you. People make choices and if it ends up in tragedy, nobody has the right to shift blame on someone else.

      It is a tragedy and lets accept it as such.

      1. NTH & Daniel, that is a bit harsh. Those people did not have many choices to make. They were forced in to that tragedy which they thought was the only choice compared to their status in Libya.

        Diaspora Eritreans are not entitled to suggest that people should not migrate from Eritrea as yourselves have already migrated regardless of the reason. If you strongly believe Eritreans are better off in their country, Practice what you preach, be an example to others and move back to Eritrea.

          1. NTH,

            With all due respect, even though you are born in Canada, nothing prevent your from going back to Eritrea and do your part, right?. I would have accepted your opinion if you were living in Eritrea and doing your part as everyne else. And who says that only those who are born in Eritrea need to defend the country?. As far as i am concerned the country belong to all of us.

            And please it is against our Eritrean culture to blame and insult dead people, since they can not defend themselves.

            But what i don´t understand is why some mothers bring their small kids to this dangerous journey. I mean if she get asylum somewhere the kids can easily join her later. I don´t know if this is because of lack of information from the mother side.

          2. Wake up,

            I didn't say anything about anyone moving here or there. What I am saying in the process if unfortunate event happens that just bad luck. So are you now blaming GoE for the boat turning over?

            And by the same logic, if you chose to live in the west rather than Eritrea, what happens in Eritrea is non of your business . Just concern yourself with your residance state.


          3. Daniel, sorry that comment was addressed to you and NTH. When you replied to NTH's comment and said "

            Dont be afraid to call it as it is NTH. I am with you. People make choices and if it ends up in tragedy, nobody has the right to shift blame on someone else.
            It is a tragedy and lets accept it as such. "

            you are agreeing to NTH' s comment and my response was to both of you. And just to clarify, I live in the West and have freedom of choice but that does mean I can make a decision for the people Eritrea.

        1. Anyhow, I'm sorry, but hopping on a boat to a dying and falling continent such as Europe and risking your life is much much worse than living in Eritrea. It's sad they died, but I'm not going to pretend to feel something for people (who I think) acted idiotically. The onus falls on them. I just feel sorry for the families.

          I just wish some people would have more resolve to help fix the issues in their own country; instead of going to ones where they know the people don't want them.

          1. NTH, I wish you had mentioned you were born in Canada from the outset. If that is the case, I don't expect you to understand the whole situation about Eritrea. Your comments actually remind me of an ancient Chinese emperor who, being told that his subjects didn't have enough rice to eat, replied, 'Why don't they eat meat?'.

            Having said so, your comments also show that you are mature and able enough to do your own research. Read and listen to both sides of the story and make your own judgement. I am sure your parents raised properly, telling you about the good culture we have. About the great country we have, etc. That is very true and you should believe them. However, the main fabric that has been holding us together for a long time is now slowly being destroyed mainly because we have a government that does not respect basic human right of its people.

      2. NTH and Daniel,

        I agree with your assessment of what Europeans thin about Africans and the fact that you have to accept the consequences of your actions. However, I don't think this was about stupidity, it was rather about DESPERATION. You might be one of the few blessed enough not to experience desperation in your lives and may not understand how those people ended up making such a bad decision in their lives.

        NTH, you were wondering what kind of idiot leaves Eritrea. Well, would you call Ali Abdu, Muhyedin Shengeb, Dr Woldeab Isaac (former president of Uni of Asmara), and lost's of educated and uneducated people have abandoned Eritrea in the past decade. People from all wakes of life are still abandoning the country whenever they get the chance – either legally or illegally. It is not only disgruntled national service conscripts seeking better life in the west. High profile PFDJ officials, university professors, doctors, bet timhriti Sewra students, teachers, business people, priests, sheiks, young men and women, and even the ELDERLY!!! Are you telling us that all these people are idiots?!?!?!

        1. If they left on boats, then yes. They acted stupidly. It is fine to migrate, but on a boat risking your life? That, to me, is dumb.

          I thought of the desperation angle, but honestly, if they weren't facing torture, persecution, or genocide, I cannot fathom how one could possibly be desperate enough to take a dangerous trip across the sea. I just can't. I understand Syrians, Pakistanis, Afghanis, Saudis, Palestinians, etc. But Eritreans…? Nope.

          1. NTH, I see your point. As a Canadian, it is hard to imagine that kind of desperation. When you are constantly abused and hold hostage in Libyan Prisons, crossing the border with a shanty boat seems like winning a lottery. eh?

            Only when you are tested with the tortures of Libyan Prisons, that you would understand the desperation. I can not think of any desperation example that you could experience in Canada as it is one of the greatest countries of the world.

          2. Well, they can't obviously take a plane, if that is what you suggest. People who have means will take safer routs, of course. But for the rest, once they are out of their country and can't return for whatever reason they escaped from, what option do they have. They can't return because the situation at home gets worse every year. At the same tine, they can't stay in refugee camps forever. Time is passing them by. It is a slow death. It is like a cornered animal – will gather whatever force it has to try to escape.

            Yes, there is no genocide. But torture and persecution?! I don't know if we differ in how we define persecution. Do you know how many ministers and politicians are in prison? How many priests, clergy and religious leaders – including the Eritrean Orthodox Patriarch Abune Antonios. These are just high profile names. Are you going to tell me they all work for CIA? The joke in Asmara now is that you can blame the CIA even if you fail your grades in school 🙂

            Do you know of any other country, with the exception of North Korea and other highly repressive governments, where people are required to have exit visa to leave their country? Let alone exit visa, you can't even have a passport without the governments approval. Can you accuse the government without going to jail? Wouldn't you go to prison for reading your bible as a group?

            How can you be not desperate when you have spent 15 years in the army with no hope of building your family or career? What could be more desperate than seeing you are unable to provide for your family, because you are working as a modern slave? When you only can see your family 10 days in a year? Man, the list is endless… That is why we need to ask why Eritreans?

  9. These arguments whether they were idiot or intelligent don't serve to prevent such accident in the future. I have watched interviews of survivors who landed in Europe safely. In describing their experience of their journey, they all recalled that they did not know the risk when they were in Eritrea. Their problems started when they crossed to Sudan and they faced maltreatments under Sudanese security agents, they wanted to leave Sudan and crossed the Sahara desert, there faced untold difficulties with thirst several of the dying. They reached Libya and their ordeal continued where they were put in jail. Their trouble progressively got bigger and has to take another desperate measure to cross the sea. Therefore the small problems they felt they had inside their country progressively became larger and larger as they went further and further. The only way to tackle the problem is a vigorous education and find solutions to the small problems inside the country, until the major problem or the root cause of all the problems in Eritrea the border crisis with Ethiopia is resolved peacefully. In my opinion the border is the root cause of the tragedy. Before the border problem there was a reverse migration in Eritrea.

  10. zdawit,

    Yes i agree with you to some extent. Many people leave the country becauase of they think it is easy to get to West. And once they are in the reguee camp of Ethiopia or Sudan they realise things are not as they expect, but it is alrady too late to retun to Eritrea. The reason can be family pressure to continoue (if the family is poor and you alredy spent several thousend dollars to reach Sudan/Ethiopia) or other reasons.

    That is why i belive by time limiting the national service, without compromissing our soverginity, and allowing people to leave/return freely we can minimise these problem. If they leave leaglly and see the life in the reguee camp of Ethiopia and Sudan, i strongly belive many will retun. Especallly if they are allowed to study or work freely after completeing the time limited national service.

  11. Anyway, all we can do now is focus on creating an environment in Eritrea that can prevent these things from happening. Jump starting our economy and creating jobs are the most important steps of prevention. As for the human trafficking, it will be difficult getting regional partners to cooperate (as Egypt and Libya are now under the United States Empire).

  12. Instead of defelcting in to rome lets look at the root cause. First it is the Eri govt for killing the hopes and dreams of the youth. Practically every eritrean has no dream and interst of leading life in eritrea. Second the diaspora politicians for encouraging and being involved in human trafficing to advance their political agenda

  13. It seems like the border issue has been the biggest nightmare for Eritrea and Eritrea's stand has been nothing but abide by the final ruling and normalize relationship afterwards. In theory no one can argue against that but can Eritrea achieve the same goal with different approach?

    Ethiopia has refused to withdraw from Badme against the final ruling and Eritrea is not forcing them out because it does not want to involve in another war or it does not have the military power to do so. What ever the reason maybe. My questions are? Is Ethiopia occupying additional Eritrean teritories everyday? Eventhogh Eritrea is the victim of Ethiopian aggression, what is the importance of Badme to Eritrea, today? I totaly agree with the argument that if somebody occupies part of your home unlawfully, the owner should have the right to defend its home, by any means. But can the means only be one? …..continued

    1. No question, Eritrean Government might have tried different diplomatic channels to resolve this dispute but due to severed relationship with super powers, it has lost its edge. If we can for a second, takeout the emotions of sovereignty and legal ownership, how can Eritrea strengthen its economy and military power while Badme is still in occupation? We always hear Eritrea could not progress due to "no peace no war" condition. Is that condition only because Badme is occupied? or are there other factual active physical threats by Ethiopia? Organizing opposition groups in Ethiopia has so far only been psychological more than a real threat to the Eritrean Govt. and Eritrean goverment is falling in to that trap by chasing the youth away to the hands of the opposition.

      I am sure there are a lot of other factors I am not aware of and not putting in to consideration but the questions that come to my mind are? If Ethiopia will not withdraw, if Eritrea can't force Ethiopia out, and if Eritrea can not progress due to the stalemate? What other solutions are there? …….continued

  14. I do not object to the idea of evicting Ethiopia out of Badme by force(as it is our God given right to defend our country) only if we think we can win but odds are not there since we don't have the international support.

    Some people might consider putting Badme conflict aside (if there are not additional Ethiopian agression) as a defeat. If the ruling was final and binding, why not let Ethiopians squander in Badme little bit longer. Sooner or later it will go back to the owner. The tricky part might be how to transition from the current Eritrean position of "No peace No War". Are there any other ways where Eritrea can keep the final and binding ruling intact but not implemented and normalize relationship with Ethiopia?

    It does not hurt to explore!

  15. The way i see it (i might be wrong), the current stand off with both the international community and Ethiopia is not a wise political strategy. We are loosing to much in the name of border dispute with Ethiopia.

    Why don´t we let the Eritrean people to decide (via representatives in a new parliament) how to act regarding the boder issue. Based on the discussion and majority vote in the parliament we could decide either to enter negosation with Ethiopa or even without solviing the border isssue take measures to get out from the current status quo where the whole country is taken hostage because of border issue. I strongly belive there are several options we can implement without risking our soverginity.

    Some of you may not like this, but i personally belive the president and his core team, have done a lot of good things for the country, but it is time for change. I belive there are several people within EPLF who can take over and bring in new ideas and blood to the leadership of the country. We could the follow the chinese model, where the whole top leadership is changed every 10 years, until we are mature enough to have election.

  16. But to get back to the core issue of migration of the youth, it should be timely to have a national conference about youth migration. And people should be free to express their opinion and youth with different political views should participate and discuss the root cause of mass migration of our youth .It could get more relevance if it was lead by the president himself, and after the conference a team of youth should write a recommendation to the governmet, about policy change needed to stop the youth from leaving the country.

  17. Out of the subjuect but we Eritreans have a lot to learn about constructive criticism from our elderly, who are wise and know how to talk :). Enjoy the following clip, from a discussion between the public and PIA somewhere in Eritrea.

  18. Tesfu,

    I second your suggestion to have a national conference on youth migration problem lead by PIA. The country is losing its important human resource and Eritrean families are forced to pay billions of dollars to human traffickers. I think this is a national emergency, which GoE has already identified clearly as coordinated conspiracies to empty the youth of the nation. Only Eritrean government and Eritrean people can find the solution.

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